Spring is in the air, and so are spring travel plans. But nothing spoils a much-anticipated trip like getting sick. Protect yourself and ensure an enjoyable trip by following some easy tips for healthy travel.
If you are traveling overseas, be proactive and see your doctor before you go, especially if you have chronic health conditions. If your destination is in an exotic locale where you might be exposed to infectious diseases such as cholera or yellow fever, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site on travel health for updates.
Traveling by air?
The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide offers a page of useful air travel tips, including specific suggestions to help prevent the development of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs):
-Avoid sitting with your legs crossed.
-Get out of your seat at least once an hour.
-Keep some free space under the seat in front of you so you can move your feet and ankles periodically.
-Do some foot and ankle exercises, such as rotating your ankles in circles in each direction, and pointing and flexing your feet.
-Wear loose clothing.
Although there are no clear-cut data on an association between flying and an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis, it’s best to be safe. You are at increased risk for DVT if you are pregnant, if you have recently had surgery, or if you have cancer, heart disease, an infection, or another serious medical problem.
Other less severe health problems of air travel include ear pain during takeoff and landing. Try chewing gum, yawning, or swallowing to help relieve this discomfort.
Traveling with Kids?
Traveling with kids is always an adventure, but it can turn into a nightmare if someone gets sick. KidsHealth.org offers detailed advice for healthy family travel, including this section on traveling if your child has asthma. There’s also a section on travel tips for teens, which includes useful information about staying healthy while studying abroad.
When packing for any trip, whether by car, bus, trail, or plane, be sure that you have enough of any prescription medicine that you (and your family members) are taking, and carry a copy of your prescription with you in case you need an emergency refill on the road. Also bring hand sanitizer, several pocket packs of tissues, and some alcohol wipes and wet wipes (wet wipes are especially helpful if you are traveling with children). Tuck some small packages of Tylenol or Advil into a purse or pocket as well; travel is enough of a headache by itself—there’s no need to add to it.